By Guilherme Cruz
Dream featheweight champion, the black belt Bibiano Fernandes is waiting for the confirmation of his next bout on the Japanese event, but is already training hard. Living in Canada, Bibiano traveled to Hawaii to train with BJ Penn, former light champion of UFC, who will have a rematch for the belt against Frank Edgar. “BJ Penn is phenomenal, his ground game is unlike any other”, compliments Bibiano, who highlighted the differential of BJ’s Jiu-Jitsu, analyzed the rematch between the Americans on Ultimate, revealed he will become a father, commented his comeback on Japanese’s rings and a lot more.
How come you have been invited to train with BJ Penn?
I went to MMA Exposition in Toronto, Canada, and a guy came to talk to me, saying that BJ needed training, said it would be a good thing if I went there to help he on his trainings and I told him I would. I believe it was his brother or his manager that came to talk to me and I gave him my number and said that he could call me, in case he needed, and he did. “Bibiano, we wanted you to come here to help BJ on his training for this next fight he’ll have”. I accepted right on time. As long as I can help somebody, my energy… In fact, the guy doesn’t need me, he needs my energy and my willingness. Everybody has something special, anybody. I said I’d go there, for sure, and I’d help in anything I could and I will.
How is this Jiu-Jitsu training with him? Are you still in Hawaii training with him?
Yes and I’ll be here for a while helping him, I believe I’ll stay two more weeks. In two weeks I’ll go home, to my family and to take care of my gym, but BJ Penn is a really great guy, he was the first non-Brazilian black belt who became champion of the world of Jiu-Jitsu, he’s tough. The guy has a strengthen and a gift that God give him… On that fight, he couldn’t use his Jiu-Jitsu, but the guy is good on the soft art, is a good Wrestler… Let’s see how this next one will be like, I’ll be here… I’m 100% BJ (laughs).
What is it about his Jiu-Jitsu that called your attention?
The guys is phenomenal, his ground game is unlike any other, is his own body, his own skills, the moves he does, even the space. The guy is an excellent fighter, he was born to be one.
Two world champions training together… Is everybody tapping out during the trainings?
We’re here, we’re world champions and we won those titles, thanks God. But what called my attention about BJ is that a lot of people think he’s arrogant, but the guy has a great heart, is humble and has a great spirit and vibe. I believe that for you to become a world champion, you have to be humble and disciplined and the guy is. He speaks with everyone, take pictures, he’s all about being humble. I have never imagines this side of his character… He’s a good friend, a great person, took me to surf, but I told him I couldn’t.
And how was it when you went surfing?
Oh man, I can’t event stand on that board (laughs). I tried, but it’s not for me. He said I’d only left when I learned how to surf, and I say that I’d have to stay on that island forever then, because surfing is not my thing (laughs). I put the kimono, the gloves, train all day long, but I don’t surf.
To be in Hawaii forever is not a bad idea, since the place is a paradise…
It’s great. It’s good training here, it’s beautiful, the people are humble, the vibe is great for us to train, it doesn’t disturb you… You can train, rest for a while and then train again. (Renato) Charuto is helping a lot the trainings here, it’s very good.
About the bout between BJ Penn and Frankie Edgar, do you believe Frankie won and deserved to win the belt?
I watched the fight. The guy moved a lot, he got in and out all the time, moved a lot during the fight, brought BJ down a few times, but I don’t knoe. I believe that BJ won the three first rounds and even the fourth, and then he has been took down, but, in my opinion, he didn’t loose that fight. The guy scored more because he moved a lot, but BJ was the champion, and I believe that, to take the belt away from him, the guy would have to do much more. But BJ is ready, he knows he has conditions to bring this belt back, the guy has a good state of mind and a huge heart. He’ll get this belt, I believe in him.
Do you believe that the strategy for this rematch should be based on Jiu-Jitsu?
I believe he has to mix it all because the guy is a good escaper, moves a lot, so I believe he has to mix it all… But his Boxing and Jiu-Jitsu together and go for it.
Did you have the opportunity to do a standing training with BJ? How is his boxing like?
The guy is awesome. He was born for this, he’s got a heavy hand, he’s good. He’s great, was the champion and will be again. He has the heart of a champion. He’s got a good pulse, a good Wrestling, he’s a star. He’s unpredictable and what he does nobody else does.
There are rumors about you fighting in September. Is there something concrete? How is your preparation going?
There’s nothing agreed yet. I’m here helping some people, I came here to help BJ, I want to take care of my people back in Canada, so I don’t know. They told me I’d fight in September, but I don’t know against whom. I’ll be ready for anybody. The challenge keeps us evolving in life, but there’s nothing concrete yet. They told me it would be in September, so I’m waiting for them to tell me something. While there’s nothing set, I’m training, I’ll go to California for a while, I’ll take care of my life, surf a bit and this is a really tough thing for me to learn (laughs), I’ll take care of my wife, the things back home, my gym, and that’s the way it goes.
Do you intend to go to Brazil while there is nothing scheduled?
Brazil is my passion, I love my country, but my wife is pregnant now and there’s a “Little Bibiano” coming, so I have to go home and stick to my wife, right? I want to go to Brazil, but let’s see… Maybe after September I go to see my family and I’ll go to Rio to meet the guys that train there and you guys from TATAME…
So that means you are going to be a pap, right?
Yeah, right? I’ll have a little baby, and I have to give something to my child. I’ll leave without anything, so I can’t leave this little boy or girl, I’m not sure what it is right now (laughs).
Of how many months is your wife pregnant?
She just completed the third month now. Everything comes from God’s glory, right? God know what to do.
Will your child be born in Canada or will you bring your wife here to have a little Brazilian Bibiano?
No, we’ll stay in Canada because her whole family lives there, there’s her mother, her aunt, her brother ans they’ll help. I love Brazil, but all her family lives in Canada and I only have my sister in Brazil. It’s cool there we stay in Canada because we will have a lot of support from her family.